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Two Indiana Women Say They Helped Lead Police To Missing 5-Month-Old Ohio Baby Alive In Parking Lot
Kason Jackson was found alive in a suspected stolen car on Thursday, WCMH in Columbus reported. Alleged kidnapper Nalah Jackson was arrested. The baby was reunited with his twin brother after several days of searching.
The 5-month-old twin boy who was kidnapped with his brother in Ohio last week is out of the hospital and back home with his loved ones, an advocate for the family told Columbus NBC station WCMH. It’s a happy ending after a days-long search for the missing boys that ended across state lines.
DaVonte Goins, the advocate for the family of Kason Thomas, said the baby boy is healthy and recovering, according to WCMH. He was found Thursday evening inside his mother’s stolen car in a Papa John’s parking lot in Indianapolis, hours after the suspected kidnapper was arrested.
Columbus police allege Nalah Jackson, 24, stole the 2010 Honda Accord containing Kason and his twin Kyair Thomas from a Donato’s Pizza parking lot along North High Street at 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 19, according to previous Oyxgen.com reporting. The mother of the twins left her car running while she got a DoorDash order, police said, and it was stolen with the babies inside. Employees at Donato’s positively identified Nalah Jackson, a homeless woman, and told Columbus police she was in the restaurant and left as the mother walked in.
At 4:15 a.m. Dec. 20, Columbus police said only Kyair was found safe in the cold in the economy parking lot at the Dayton International Airport, about an hour southwest of Columbus.
Two women in Indianapolis are credited with helping police arrest Jackson and miraculously find baby Kason alive before Christmas. Shyann Delmar said she bought toys from a woman who was hanging out at an Indianapolis gas station on Dec. 20, The Indy Star reported. Delmar agreed to give the woman a ride to the store. After dropping her off, Delmar told the Star she shared a video she’d taken of the woman with her cousin, Mecka Curry, and the pair thought the woman seemed similar to the kidnapping suspect wanted on an AMBER alert out of Ohio.
Delmar and the woman, who called herself “Mae,” had exchanged phone numbers during their car ride, and on Wednesday, Delmar told the Indy Star she got another call from “Mae” about purchasing more items. She wasn’t sure what to do, but on Thursday Delmar called “Mae” back, and arranged to meet her at a residence with her cousin, according to the Indy Star.
The cousins called Columbus police, who they say told them to call the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, according to the Indy Star. When they called Indianapolis police, the women said they struggled to get police to believe they knew where Jackson was. They told the Star they got frustrated and hung up with police, and instead took Jackson to several more stores, hoping she would shoplift and draw authorities’ attention.
Delmar and Curry told the Star they continued to call police while driving with “Mae” and at one point Curry pretended to be talking to a friend and indicated they were driving on I-65 south. The women said police found their car and conducted a traffic stop. But the women said the police officer was skeptical about whether it was Jackson and said the women should take her to a shelter, the Indy Star reported. Curry said she showed police a screenshot of Jackson’s mugshot and the officer agreed to take her into custody about 2 p.m. Thursday.
But the baby was nowhere to be found. A dangerous winter storm was entering the area, and temperatures in Indiana were about to plummet to wind chills in the negative teens and 20s.
The cousins had one clue—in the back seat of their car, “Mae” had left behind a bus schedule, according to the Indy Star. The women decided to trace the bus route and look for vehicles covered in show that would indicate the stolen vehicle, also still missing, hadn’t moved in a while. The women said they saw a Papa John’s on Indiana Avenue that had a Honda in the parking lot covered in snow. Curry told the Indy Star she ran to the car and saw baby legs in the backseat, but the car was locked. Delmar told the Star she saw some officers eating inside a Blaze Pizza nearby and ran inside to tell them about the baby.
At 9:24 p.m. Thursday, Indianapolis police tweeted a photo of an officer holding Kason, with the caption, “A photo is worth a thousand words,” thanking the community members who helped to find him. Standing in the background of the photo is Delmar.
“At that point, we didn’t believe we really did this,” Curry said to the Indy Star. “We really did the unthinkable.”
Jason Vannort works for Papa John’s and told Indianapolis CW station WISH he had noticed the car sitting in front of the store since Dec. 20. He also said Jackson had come into the store around 8 a.m. on Dec 20 and asked about bus passes and if the store was hiring. The workers believe the baby was likely left alone in the vehicle for two days.
Officers Richard El and Shawn Anderson with Indianapolis Police had spent most of the day Thursday searching for the baby.
“You kind of get this feeling of maybe time might be running out or whatever the case may be,” El told Columbus CBS station WBNS. “And so, I just feel like it was pretty urgent for us to try to locate him.”
Just before their shift ended, they did find baby Kason.
“When we found him, he was cold, right, but he was awake, he was breathing, he was moving around a little bit,” Sgt. El said to WBNS. “His eyes were open wide and just trying to take everything in.”
The photos of the moment spread quickly across social media, as many found hope in the “Christmas miracle.”
“I could tell that he felt comfort and joy, and felt safe and secure in that moment, in spite of the ordeal that he had been through, so I was amazed at how well he was doing for the amount of time that he was gone,” said Anderson in a tweet from Indianapolis police. “Holding him was one of the best feelings I’ve had in my career.”
Kason went to the hospital to be checked out, his family told WBNS, and said he was “doing as well as could be expected.”
“When we were alerted to where baby Kason was, and was able to actually lay eyes on him, I felt like a miracle happened,” Anderson told the Indy Star. “Holding baby Kason was like holding one of my own children. It was that meaningful for me.”
The Thomas family thanked the community for their help in reuniting them with the 5-month-old boy.
“This is gonna be the best Christmas ever,” LaFonda Thomas, Kason’s grandmother, told WBNS. “I’m so excited. It’s a miracle. It’s just … I don’t know. I’m overwhelmed right now.”
Jackson first appeared in court on Saturday morning in Marion County, Indiana to face felony battery by bodily waste charges, for allegedly spitting on a deputy while being booked, according to WBNS.
Jackson gave the name, "Josphis Hunt" to the magistrate, and when asked if she understood her rights, Jackson responded by saying, "no... yes... no... I'm pleading guilty. Just go ahead and sentence me," WBNS reported.
During the remote hearing, the Marion County Magistrate set Jackson's bond at $500, and told Jackson that even if the bond is met, she would not be released due to a hold on the State of Ohio for two counts of kidnapping. WBNS reports Jackson began yelling expletives toward the magistrate, prompting the end of the hearing. The magistrate told her clerk that they technically didn't get through the hearing, and the judge for today’s hearing will need to redo the initial hearing.
Columbus police said Jackson, who is from Columbus, does have a criminal history and several arrests with their department, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting. Cleveland ABC station WEWS reports court records show Jackson was previously arrested twice for child endangerment, custody interference, domestic violence, assault, and other misdemeanors. Columbus police said there is no indication Jackson knew the mother or the children previously.
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